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Random question for airline pilots

Shadowrider

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I'm not a pilot but have a friend that is. He got his on his own and it took him years. I'm talking years even after he had his commercial license and 1500+ hours flight time with a ton of different ratings to even include float planes. He was always going somewhere to get another cert on his own time and dime. Even had all the instructor stuff done.

And when he finally did land a full time job it was with the small regional turbo-props (Embraer) where they severely overwork and under pay their pilots. He actually could almost qualify for food stamps or whatever they call that now. He was always staying in out of the way places or in deep blue cities that he wanted no part of but that goes with it. Funny thing is he was always staying overnights in Mexico. They had their own campus' there and they weren't bothered a bit. All the cartels know those pilots don't make anything and they always left them alone.

Tell him that it's doable but even after graduating it's going to be a long haul to get into a jumbo jet, so he'll have to be very determined and he'll be paying on those student loans for a long time on just above minimum wage salary. IOW, he really needs to think long and hard plus have a plan.
 

Duncandl

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Just to add to this story, it is possible without military. One of my childhood best friends is a Pilot for Southwest, couldn't qualify for the military due to a terrible boating accident. He is very comfortable flying out of Houston. He went to OU, flew for the Williams brothers out of Tulsa for a few years and landed a job with Southwest based on his contacts.

My cousin went to Spartan, flew for the Williams brothers out of Tulsa and Omni as well, he flew Paul McCartney around Europe for one of his tours and was always showing up in random towns in a Citation X or Fokker Falcon. He was the pilot, maintainer to a certain extent and he also cleaned the jets as well as loaded bags and food for the flight. Stewardess/Attendant would show up and present the jet to the customers while he sat in his seat waiting, and waiting...

It can be done, he will be poor and a pretty good chance he will remain poor, lol. But if and when he lands that coveted Airline Pilot Gig he will be very happy. I am retired Navy and see former Pilot's that I flew with at almost every airport we go to, they all seem happy but hurried to get to the next gate and they fly a lot which means they are gone from family extended periods of time. But as former Sailors they don't complain, they are driving the bus and collecting a nice check.

Good luck with your son! The military is not for everyone and I hated working/serving with those that didn't want to be there.

Dave
 

JD8

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FWIW, the Delta Captain I spoke of earlier is not military, he just says it's a whole lot cheaper and easier. :D But in no way necessary.
 

rlongnt

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OU has a great aviation program. Both Professional Pilot and Management paths. OU owns Max Westheimer Airport in Norman. Their fleet is actually "their fleet". Another good thing about learning to fly at OU is you do it in controlled airspace. You get over the fear of dealing with a tower, flying into OKC, Tinker and Dallas traffic somewhere close to day one. OSU has a well respected flight school as well.

Believe it when people are joking about being poor. Buying 40 hour blocks of time will guarantee you never go on spring or summer break. Those are rare times to go temp for $$. One of the most surreal things I did in school was fly from Norman to Riggs in Claremore to pick up groceries from my parents to keep me alive in school. No kidding, I had no money for food because I put every penny I made into flight time.
 

Aviator

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My 17 year old son is wanting to become an airline pilot. Those of you who are pilots, in all of your wisdom, what school would you advise? He's not wanting to go armed forces at this time. Researching online leads to a wide variety of sometimes contradictory answers. Thanks!

I wouldn’t discourage him from pursuing a career in aviation. Even though pilot new hires are non existent in the airline industry right now by the time he has his multi engine commercial and builds some time things will likely have changed. I’m an aircraft broker and work with airline and charter/corporate pilots on a daily basis.
Charters/ corporate, and freight haulers like Fed Ex are doing incredibly well right now. Charter services while not at the same level as airline pay is still a lot better than it used to be with most captains making north of 80,000 per year.
There is always the opportunity to fly as part of a crew for private owners, the pay and benefits can be pretty good. One client of mine flys a Gulfstream for a wealthy client for 30 days and then he is off for thirty days as the second crew takes over. This is fairly common.
Several flight schools are still investing in trainers, which means they see light at the end of this covid tunnel we’re in.
I would research a flight school that has a pathway/ partnership with an airline. We have several here in Arizona that partner with airlines which makes it easier for new pilots to get hired. I spend quite a bit of time in Stillwater and have heard good things about the OU program.
My office used to be at the Embry Riddle flight line, and that type of education is a great way to go but extremely expensive.
 

ignerntbend

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Here's a random question for commercial pilots. Would you ever open the cabin mic and explain that you were plunging toward the earth in a firey death machine? Would you proclaim your love for your best "friend" Bruce?
 

HoLeChit

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I have two buddies that are pilots... one flies helicopters, and the other flies domestic flight big jets for Delta. When going through losing my job and looking at changing my career, I asked both of them about becoming a pilot. One of the first big things to realize is that its hard to make decent money starting out, and things go slow. My buddy who flies helicopters averaged 15k a year the first few years out of school, and he counts himself lucky. He now works two jobs flying and brings in 60k after almost 10 years in the business. My buddy who flies fixed wing for delta has been flying for about 12. He comes from a family of airline pilots and flight instructors. He just a few years ago got into flying the big jets and making decent money.

The biggest question when moving forward with pay/responsibility/job opportunities is flying hours and platforms used. With the military, you get all of that in a short amount of time. After getting out you have it made in the shade when it comes to getting placed in a good flying job. I know your son didn't want to join the military and such, and a lot of this seems to be a downer, but to succeed as a pilot you really gotta be determined because from how its been presented to me it isn't all glory. Still one of the coolest jobs ever to me though. I'm not a pilot, my flying experience outside of going to work trips or vacation is rolling around in the back of a c130 during combat takeoffs and landings. I'm the furthest thing from a pilot and just want to share what I have been told.
 

Glock 40

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Have a relative that was making good money in Banking decided he didn't like being a banker and quit to go to Sparten. Got all his licenses and spent a fortune in training. Only to find out there was no jobs unless you were military and you would starve if you did find a job. He went back to banking and is enjoying life.
 
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